Introducing Built In’s 2021 Moxie Award Winners

Fifty women across the country and tech industry have been recognized for their outstanding contributions. Meet them here.

Written by Adrienne Teeley
Published on Apr. 28, 2021
Introducing Built In’s 2021 Moxie Award Winners

Let’s break something. A glass ceiling, a stereotype, an outdated way of working — anything but a good line of code. 

For eight years, Built In has celebrated individuals who refuse to settle for the status quo with the Moxie Awards, honoring those determined to leave their mark on technology and, in some cases, the world.

In 2021, we’re shaking things up. 

This year’s Built In Moxie Award winners are all women, nominated by a peer because of their extraordinary passion and commitment to the industry. While women may be the minority in the tech world, their contributions aren’t going unnoticed: Built In received over 400 nominations, ranging from individual contributors to company vice presidents in tech or tech-adjacent roles.

They’re mentors, decision-makers, community leaders and more — and they deserve recognition. Each nomination was reviewed by a panel of tech leaders, with identifying information redacted to reduce bias. The result is an impressive line-up of visionaries who have broken barriers to better shape a future of technical excellence and inclusivity. 

Meet the Moxie Award winners of 2021: 50 women ushering in a new era of tech. 

The State of DEI in TechAn In-Depth Analysis of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Technology Industry


Melissa Acker
Engineering Manager, Performance • Sprout Social

Melissa Acker is a performance engineer at Sprout Social with over 20 years of experience leading and managing teams across a wide range of industries. She is also a co-lead for the Underrepresented Genders In Tech Business Resource Group, which is dedicated to championing diversity, equity and inclusion.


Lauren Allison
Sr. Director of Insights • U-MVPINDEX

Lauren Allison has been with MVPindex since its inception in 2012. As senior director of insights, she leads her team in creating actionable insights using data and analytics, primarily around sponsorships for clients in sports and entertainment.

Prior to MVP,  Allison managed digital strategy and creative services for Townsquare Media and was a web developer and multimedia journalist at The Dallas Morning News. She got her start at Citadel Broadcasting, where she was a radio producer, personality and webmaster. She graduated from LSU Manship School of Mass Communication.

Allison is also an actress who has been in local theater and has done voice acting through FUNimation.


Samantha Berg
Head of Design • Chime

Samantha Berg is a design leader at Chime with more than 12 years of experience envisioning, creating and shipping next-generation consumer products. She leads and motivates teams with proven success across a variety of environments, including large-scale tech companies, mid-sized design consulting firms and venture-backed startups. Her ability to strategize at a high level is complemented by her thorough technical understanding and attention to detail.

Berg is passionate about building tight-knit, high-performing teams and creating cultures of inclusion and equity. She has created and led women’s groups at multiple organizations and regularly speaks at events in the design and fintech communities about how to build your career and create inclusive products that empower.


Fabiola Blas, Account Director, Paid Media, at Incubeta NMPiFabiola Blas, Account Director, Paid Media, at Incubeta NMPi

Fabiola Blas is a paid media director at Incubeta NMPi with five years of experience in the marketing industry. At Incubeta NMPi, Blas specializes in digital media and is responsible for developing full-funnel strategies and ensuring campaign delivery for a varied portfolio of clients. She also oversees the growth and operations of Incubeta’s LATAM office.

Jennifer Esterline
Director of Mechanical Engineering • Peloton

Jennifer Esterline is the director of mechanical engineering at Peloton, where she has the opportunity to blend her two loves of consumer products and fitness. She started her career as a mechanical engineer and project manager in the automotive industry, which provided her with a solid understanding of engineering fundamentals and the opportunity to explore her leadership style. From there, Esterline joined Nokia, where her passion for building both consumer products and technical teams took flight. After 11 years at Nokia, she went on to build mechanical engineering teams at several other successful consumer focused companies, including Fitbit, Fossil and Harry’s.


Alexandra Felsenstein
Creative Director • Yext

Alexandra Felsenstein is the creative director at Yext, a global search technology company, where she leads the brand’s creative studio. As a senior creative leader,  Felsenstein seeks to bridge the gap between business, strategy and design objectives. She combines over 12 years of experience in graphic design and advertising with a master’s degree in business strategy and design management, bringing a unique perspective that is both creative and business-focused. She has amassed a rich mix of experiences from global brands such as Amazon and Viacom, and a variety of industries including nonprofit, media, entertainment, global e-commerce and currently, tech. 

Felsenstein is driven by the mission to prove that creative impact comes from so much more than just “making it look pretty.” Beyond her creative role, Felsenstein finds every opportunity to mentor talent, give back and make a positive impact on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion opportunities in the workplace and surrounding communities. 


Jovana Florus
Sr. Engineering Manager, Consumer Tech • Farmer's Fridge

Jovana Florus is a senior engineering manager at Farmers Fridge. She manages the engineering teams that develop the consumer-facing websites and mobile applications, and focuses on leading teams to deliver features efficiently without sacrificing quality.

Prior to Farmer’s Fridge, she was the senior engineering manager of quality at Trunk Club, where she led the software testing team. Florus, a graduate of Brown University, has over a decade of software, testing and leadership experience from her time at companies including Groupon and Microsoft. 


Liza Fryberger
Director of Product • Cityblock

Liza Fryberger is in product because she loves building and working on teams. She’s driven by figuring out how to get teams to the “happy hustle,” where folks are in flow, excited and passionate about their work and can push impact and creativity together.

With a background in communication and public health, Fryberger got her start in technology at Zocdoc, where she made the leap from customer service to product by building tools for providers. Today, she serves as director of product at Cityblock Health, a Brooklyn-based healthcare technology venture seeking to revolutionize care for the underserved.


Laura Garcia, Ph.D., Manager of Research & Development at AppliedVR

What peers say about Laura Garcia: Laura Garcia has overcome a stark amount of adversity and has excelled in her career nonetheless. At 17, She immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia and was immediately thrust into an English-only speaking school system and self-taught herself English in her “spare” time. Simultaneously, she said she dealt with social isolation, racism and sexism. She put her head down and worked through it. She graduated from high school, then received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and ultimately a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of Southern California. 

In her work as a therapist, she borrowed from her personal experiences to help others. She is currently working at AppliedVR, helping her team design a virtual clinical trial in which they drop-shipped EaseVRx, a virtual reality therapeutic chronic pain management solution to patients. Garcia served as the person in charge and first author on the first two research articles resulting from this work. 


kendra gauntKendra Gaunt, Data & Artificial Intelligence Product Manager at The Trevor Project

Kendra Gaunt is a technologist who has engaged with organizations to connect conscious design, interaction and technology for people around the world. As a published writer and speaker, Gaunt believes that applying an intersectional lens to any framework creates the space to develop products that serve the needs of all people. Presently, Gaunt is the data and artificial intelligence product manager for The Trevor Project, where they manage projects to provide a high quality of care to LGBTQ youth.


liz-gilletteLiz Gillette, Director & Practice Area Lead, Digital Transformation at Logic20/20

Liz Gillette is a Director and Digital Transformation Practice Lead at Logic20/20, responsible for overseeing complex engagements, ensuring delivery excellence focusing on best practices and standards, and growing talent within the technology organization. Liz is an accomplished systems integration and technology leader with Big 4 consulting experience. She works with clients to identify and deliver business value through technology solutions while applying her knowledge and experience with full lifecycle ERP deployments, packaged software delivery, and custom development solutions across non-profit, government, telecom, and high tech companies. She attended Washington University in St. Louis and moved to Seattle from the Midwest, where she now enjoys taking advantage of the outdoors in her free time.


Polina Giralt
Staff Software Engineer • Squarespace

Polina Giralt is a staff engineer at Squarespace. A member of the streaming data team, Giralt is responsible for architecting and scaling a platform to deliver event insights on the user journey across customer segments and products. She previously worked at JPMorgan Chase and BuzzFeed. Giralt is an expert in all things data reliability and contributed this knowledge to a recently published book, “Implementing Service Level Objectives.”


Chelsea Green, Staff Software Engineer at 7Factor Software

What peers say about Chelsea Green: Chelsea Green’s passion for her work is contagious at 7Factor Software. I have seen Green celebrate the success of a project or team countless times, and each time it reminds me how much she cares about the builds she creates. The world of software is full of roadblocks that can be frustrating, but Green always has her eye on the celebration after the hurdle. 

Green is also not afraid to have conversations about gender in the world of tech. She uses her platform to share her experience and be an example for other women in tech. She has taught me, and many other women, that we deserve respect in our positions. Green wrote this honest, empowering blog last year that was also featured on Women Who Code’s blog. 


Xiao Guo
Director of Engineering, Software • Instacart

Xiao Guo is currently director of engineering within Instacart’s consumer organization, where she has helped scale Instacart’s systems to meet increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to Instacart, she was at Uber and LinkedIn, where she focused on building consumer products at large scale. She also took a brief sojourn to China in 2017 to help build an AI startup.

Guo graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai, followed by a postgrad at Harvard University. She is deeply passionate about making technology useful for people’s daily lives and is a strong advocate for women in tech. Guo has served as co-chairs of Uber’s LadyEng and Instacart’s Women@ employee resource groups (ERGs), with a goal of improving the diversity and inclusivity of engineering organizations.


Maggie Hays
Senior Product Manager • SpotHero

Maggie Hays has worked in the data analytics, data science and data engineering industry for over 12 years and currently leads as a senior product manager at SpotHero. She is passionate about building resources that allow data to be accessible, intuitive and impactful for a wide spectrum of end users so teams can fully leverage the power of data-backed decisions. Hays is enthusiastic about providing opportunities for her colleagues to sharpen their skills and explore new technology, and regularly organizes book clubs, hackathons, design sprints, mentoring programs and more.


Amanda Henry
Manager, Consulting • Strata Decision Technology

Amanda Henry joined Strata Decision Technology in 2018 with 4 years of hospital decision support experience. Prior to her work in hospital finance, Ms. Henry received her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago coming into that with 5+ years of experience in general business administration and finance. In her current role as a Consulting Manager, Ms. Henry is responsible for overseeing a team of consultants to implement the full suite of Decision Support tools. With her direct experience in hospital finance, Ms. Henry serves as a decision support subject matter expert throughout the company.


Claudia Hoeffner
VP of Revenue Marketing • Nexthink

Claudia Hoeffner is an award-winning marketing expert who drives scale at rapidly growing B2B software companies and startups. A leader who consistently drives 65 to 75 percent of net new business through the marketing channel, Hoeffner has supported and empowered her organizations by filling sales pipelines that deliver future growth and sustainable revenue paths. Her sights are consistently set on continually increasing predictable and scalable growth. What is even more unique is the way she combines this hardset determination with unbounded creativity in order to achieve her goals. Today, Hoeffner spearheads revenue marketing to propel Nexthink into market leadership. She has held marketing leadership positions at Eloqua, which exited to Oracle for $1 billion, Acquia, which exited to Vista Equity Partners for over $1 billion, VTS, and Automattic.


Ann Howard
VP of Product • GoNoodle

Ann Howard is a product and business leader. She has 15 years of experience building products and currently serves as VP of product for GoNoodle. She leads a product and technology team at a company that’s mission is to promote joy and self-discovery for kids and the adults in their lives. Prior to that, Howard ran a consultancy focused on de-risking software projects, where she worked with startups and brands like NASCAR and Bridgestone North America. Her passions are organizational culture, facilitation and building teams characterized by autonomy and a deeper sense of purpose.


Renee Iinuma
Software Engineering Manager • Bombora

What peers say about Renee Iinuma: Renee Iinuma started at Bombora immediately after college and within four years became a technical leader and senior engineer within R&D.  It is not typical for someone to advance so quickly in technology, but Iinuma’s dedication, pragmatism and ability to mentor and grow her team made her an obvious choice. Junior engineers trust and rely on Iinuma for her expertise and guidance and she mentors with empathy, patience and compassion for her team.

Iinuma has excelled in her career by being herself and striving for excellence. Every time she speaks up in meetings, presents during companywide summits or is looked to for guidance from thought leaders at Bombora, she is shaping the culture within technology and setting an example for others that have not experienced that elsewhere. 


Arielle IsraelArielle Israel, Quality Engineering Manager at The Zebra

Arielle Israel is a quality engineering manager at The Zebra, an insurance comparison site. She partners with engineering teams to create and strengthen testing initiatives that improve The Zebra’s product offerings. Israel previously gained quality engineering experience at The Urban Money Movement, NextGen Healthcare and Overwatch Systems. She is passionate about uplifting minorities and women in the workplace and is involved in multiple ERGs that support these communities. Outside of work, Israel volunteers with nonprofit organizations that support victims of abuse and underserved communities. Israel graduated from Baylor University with a degree in applied mathematics.


Jessica Kaplan
VP of Finance • Common
What peers say about Jessica Kaplan: Jess Kaplan exemplifies moxie because she has risen to the top in the male-dominated finance field working at some of the most recognized startups throughout her career. She has led multiple internal finance teams before joining Common, where she is now the VP of finance. She leads by example and shows other women how to fight for what they believe in by embodying her own empowerment in meetings, group outings and more.

Over the last three years at Common, Kaplan has built and scaled a finance team to be racially and gender diverse, and represent the morals and ethos that a housing startup should bring.



Mary LawlerMary Lawler, VP of Marketing at Telnyx

Mary Lawler is the vice president of marketing at Telnyx. She works cross-collaboratively, coordinating multiple teams to establish scalable processes for the company’s growth organization. Lawler has spent most of her career at tech startups in and around Chicago, including FourKites and G2, and has gained deep expertise in project management, marketing operations and demand generation. She is passionate about workplace empowerment and believes in authentic leadership. Outside of the office, Lawler enjoys playing basketball and soccer, exploring Chicago neighborhoods with her goldendoodle, Roo, and watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy.


Taylor McGrathTaylor McGrath, Head of Customer Solutions at Rivery

Taylor McGrath is head of customer solutions at Rivery, a DataOps platform that streamlines data integration, transformation and orchestration. Prior to Rivery, she was a managing consultant at Keyrus, where she advised companies across the globe on data strategy. McGrath holds a degree in industrial and systems engineering from Lehigh University.


Gabrielle Mellon
Sr. Director of Talent Acquisition
What peers say about Gabrielle Mellon: Gabrielle Mellon is magnetic. She speaks with equal passion about her company, Axon, and its mission, as she does about her commitment to DEI and her family. She’s fair, direct and curious, and leaves room for learning and understanding. Her commitment and drive are palpable and she makes everyone feel capable. That’s moxie.

Mellon regularly supports women in ways they might never know stemmed from her, while also creating highly visible policies to propel a positive culture and create new opportunities for people. She leads and mentors without being overt about it. She does it because it’s her go-to operating system and it lifts everyone in the room up.


Jennifer MeyerJennifer Meyer, Director of Product at Gotransverse

After graduating from George Washington University with an accounting degree, Jennifer Meyer spent over 30 years running accounting departments for small-to-medium private companies. She began her career just as the personal computer was proliferating in businesses. All of her positions involved improvements to accounting information systems, including accounting system integrations.

During her career, she often wished she could make improvements to various software platforms. When she joined Gotransverse almost six years ago as product manager of its billing software package, Meyer was able to combine the two best things about her earlier career: systems and accounting. 


Michelle Michael
Director of Employer Brand & Recruiting Ops • Basis Technologies

​Michelle Michael joined Centro in 2014 as one of the company’s first in-house recruiters. Today, she leads Centro’s employer branding and recruiting operations. Prior to Centro, Michael was in sales and technical recruiting at Groupon. She drew on her years of recruiting experience to establish and grow Centro’s employer brand. Now, Michael focuses on telling stories about what makes working at Centro special and fostering inclusive experiences for candidates and employees. Michael earned her bachelor’s degree in strategic communication at Miami University and her master’s degree in organizational communication at the University of Cincinnati.

Outside of work, you can find her browsing interior design blogs, reading the latest true crime novel or trying to grab a nap in between chasing her toddler and 10-month-old.
Andrea Miller
Director, Client Lead • Kin + Carta
Andrea Miller has spent her 10 years in the technology consulting industry in a variety of roles, including Scrum, product, QA and the first woman on the Kin + Carta sales team.
In her role today as a director, Miller leads over 70 team members on two accounts in the agriculture industry and works closely with her clients to find new areas to partner and ensure delivery success. She is passionate about creating inclusive environments for all team members. Miller is a proud member of two book clubs and spends her time during the pandemic running, improving her cooking skills and missing her ceramics studio.


Sarah Mogin
Associate Tech Director • Work & Co

What peers say about Sarah Mogin: In five years at Work & Co, Sarah Mogin has risen to associate tech director. Her secret? Her willingness to follow a nontraditional path. Mogin studied physics at Carnegie Mellon University while dabbling in coding hobbies in her free time. It was when she realized she wasn’t meant to pursue a career in natural science that she made the decision to drop out of college and try to figure out her real calling. Mogin worked in marketing jobs for years until eventually convincing her then-boss to allow her to try her self-taught web skills on the company’s Facebook apps and landing pages. 

In another leap, Mogin decided she wanted to go for it as a developer and quit her job to start immersive courses at App Academy. Eventually she landed her first dev role in publishing at Simon & Schuster. As a career-switcher, self-taught developer and woman in a male-dominated career track,  Mogin has continuously tapped into her determination, confidence and curiosity to chart unknown territory. She’s found that her non-linear path has made her a more compassionate and inspired mentor and better developer.


Mehreen MundhMehreen Mundh, Head of Sales Strategy and Operations at Blueground

Mehreen Mundh is the director of sales strategy and operations at Blueground, a proptech company offering thousands of fully-furnished apartments in 14 cities around the world for stays of one month or more. Mundh guides data-driven decision-making for the company’s inbound and enterprise sales teams. Prior to Blueground, she worked in private equity and growth equity between New York and San Francisco. Mundh has a degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, is from Karachi, Pakistan, and currently resides in New York City.


Elyse Munselle
Director of Client Success • Take Command

What peers say about Elyse Munselle: Not only is Elyse Munselle the top female voice within the company’s leadership, she’s also the only employee aside from the CEO to have a voting seat on the board. 

Munselle created the mentorship program at Take Command Health, pairing new hires with management-level employees to create an effective and fun process to bring value to both mentors and mentees. She also envisioned and created roles within her team that empower part-time, stay-at-home moms to find the balance they need to juggle their professional and home life. Munselle understood that some of the best talent is leaving the workforce feeling like they don’t have the resources, support or energy to do both. The part-time roles under her allow for these moms to be kept in the fold, even if they’re not quite ready to come back to work full-time.

Amanda Murrin
Associate Creative Director • Nexthink

What peers say about Amanda Murrin: Amanda Murrin has extraordinary creative talent and passion and everything and everyone she interfaces with is better for it. As the creative director at Nexthink, an international, unicorn-valued company on a mission to improve employees’ digital experiences, Murrin has evolved and pushed the Nexthink brand image forward, along with the designers who support it. 

She leads and mentors a team of three female designers, helping the team become just as amazing as she is. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and methods, empowering her team with research and reasoning, taking the time to explain the context behind each decision. Murrin makes sure the interests of her team are heard, respected and explored and has cultivated a strong, creative team and overall brand identity.

Sierra Navarro
Director of Technical Operations • Enova

Sierra Navarro is the director of technical operations at Enova International, a financial technology company providing online financial services through its AI and machine learning powered lending platform. Navarro is a dedicated and driven technology leader with a passion for turning ambiguity into action, learning from incidents and building outstanding teams of passionate, intelligent and diverse people — all while finding ways to stay creative in the midst of constraints.

In 2018, Navarro and her husband left the hustle of downtown Chicago and moved to a small farm in East Central Illinois to pursue a more intentional lifestyle that connects them with nature every day.

Fion Nguyen
Group Product Manager • Faire

​Fion Nguyen is an experienced product leader who joined the Faire team in 2018. Currently leading Faire’s fastest-growing category, apparel, Nguyen is fiercely passionate about building products with a high degree of empathy for the small business owners that Faire serves, and she inspires those around her to do the same. Nguyen’s dedication and commitment to her work, her team and Faire’s mission shines through in her relentless determination and tenacity.


Courtney PalmCourtney Palm, RVP of Sales, Central & West, Blis

As RVP of sales at Blis, Courtney Palm is responsible for driving ad sales revenue in the central and west regions, and has worked with her team of sales directors to build strategic media and marketing partnerships with leading brands across various verticals. Prior to joining Blis, Palm worked at ownerIQ (now InMar) as the vice president of agency and client investment and strategy, where she helped drive both bottom-up and top-down sales for the organization.

Palm began her career on the media agency side of the business and spent 16 years working at major holding companies such as GroupM, Dentsu, Publicis and Omnicom before making the switch to the sales side.


Sara Radkiewicz, Head of Product at CarePort, powered by WellSky

What peers say about Sara Radkiewicz: With a background in enterprise analytics, it was no small feat for Sara Radkiewicz to enter the world of healthcare and lead product strategy and development for a company in an entirely unfamiliar field. Yet Radkiewicz began her new role at CarePort, powered by WellSkyin 2018 with energy and determination and quickly asserted herself as a trustworthy, passionate and capable product leader. 

Radkiewicz dedicates significant time to studying industry trends and healthcare provider needs and works closely with CarePort customers to get first-hand feedback and perspectives. Through independent research and unparalleled work ethic, Radkiewicz has created a product roadmap that addresses providers’ most pressing challenges and opportunities, and works collaboratively with the cross-functional CarePort team to bring that vision to life. 


Jismy Raju
Customer Success Manager •

Jismy Raju has over 10 years of experience in client success and is currently a customer success manager at, where she co-leads its first-ever womxn ERG. Before her tech career, Raju received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and economics from Lawrence University, through the Posse Foundation as part of the program’s inaugural class. A first-generation college grad, Raju then spent several years as an account executive at Travelers, managing customers and risk from diverse industries. 

In 2017, Raju made a career pivot and went on to earn her MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in general management. Inspired by her mother, who carved her own path with no guidance, Raju’s mission is to provide women the resources they need to succeed and champion change through diversity, equity and inclusion.


Bridget Reed
Head of Content • GR0

Bridget Reed is the head of content at GR0, a fast-growing SEO agency. She is passionate about creating purposeful, informational and engaging content that ranks on Google. Reed received high accolades from her colleagues for supporting and encouraging them to pursue higher roles within the company. She is a wife, a mom of three young kids and a graduate of St. Petersburg College with a major in management and organizational leadership.


Ifat RibonIfat Ribon, Senior Software Developer at LaunchPad Lab

Ifat Ribon is a senior software developer at LaunchPad Lab, a design and development agency headquartered in Chicago. Ribon primarily codes with Ruby on Rails and React and enjoys collaborating with her teams and clients to bring new digital products to life. Her coworkers described her as a “problem-solver to her core,” with the ability to see multiple solutions in real-time, triage them, make a call, and then execute on that call. Outside of work, she is also a member of the national lacrosse team. 



Ofelia RodriguezOfelia Rodríguez, Lead Quality Engineer at The Zebra

Ofelia Rodríguez is a quality engineering lead at The Zebra, an insurance comparison site. She leads teams that establish processes, ensure quality outputs and facilitate growth for the business. Prior to joining The Zebra, Rodríguez did quality assurance at swipejobs and technical support at ShipStation. She’s currently in a coding bootcamp to further her professional development. 

Rodríguez is passionate about uplifting women in the workplace and leads one of The Zebra’s most active ERGs for women, The Shebras. Rodríguez graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in business process management and marketing.


Antonia Rubell
Data Analyst, Data & ML Engineering

Antonia Rubell is a data analyst at Nurx, a telehealth company providing accessible and affordable healthcare for sensitive health needs. She began her career in growth marketing, enjoying a mix of the creative and analytical. Out of a curiosity for data, she supplemented with self-paced online courses to learn SQL and Python. With self-learning, practice and trial and error, she made the transition to being a full-time data analyst.


Shireen Santosham, Head of Strategic Initiatives at Plenty

What peers say about Shireen Santosham: Before joining indoor vertical farm Plenty, Shireen Santosham was the chief innovation officer for the Mayor of San Jose, where she led the office of technology and innovation. There, she created and spearheaded the city’s first Digital Inclusion Fund, which provided more than $20 million to help expand 5G technology in the city and close the digital divide for 50,000 residents. She also developed the first comprehensive city-wide digital privacy policy. As a result, San Jose was recognized as one of America’s most innovative cities by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and was awarded the “most tech-forward city in the country.” 

Santosham’s moxie landed her a job with Plenty. She proactively reached out to Plenty’s CEO and requested a meeting to learn more about what the company did. She found that her own vision of a sustainable planet and a greater societal good aligned well with Plenty’s mission. 


Portia Kibble Smith
Diversity & Inclusion Lead • Karat

Portia Kibble Smith is the head of DEI at Karat. She has dedicated her career to helping more Black professionals land jobs within tech and is continuing to pioneer that work at Karat. Most recently, she has played a key role in helping launch the Brilliant Black Minds program in order to honor the rich legacy of genius found throughout Black America and empower the next generation of Black engineers. Portia has also established a series called Real Talk: Diversity in Tech forum to create a platform where women and underrepresented minorities can amplify their voices and share their stories.


Michele Teixeira
Director of Customer Success • Own Company

What peers say about Michele Teixeira: Michele Teixeira does so much for our team at OwnBackup, and she does it with enthusiasm and passion for her work — she never does anything halfway. She is our trainer, our CS Ops manager, our business process improvement guru, our forecaster, our excel master, and most importantly, she is our cheerleader. 

Teixeira never misses an opportunity to celebrate the successes of those on her team who get promoted or who do something well that is worthy of recognition. She goes above and beyond to ensure we have fun together. Rather than requiring us to be busy every minute of the day, Teixeira encourages us to attend a weekly coffee chat or schedule one-on-one time with a peer to build trust and friendships. 


Paulina TornqvistPauliina Tornqvist, Producer at Activision

Pauliina Tornqvist is a seasoned video game producer with experience in working on some of the biggest IPs in gaming. After founding and running her own gaming studio during her university studies, she has worked across the U.S. and Europe at some of the world’s biggest game publishers. Currently, she works as a producer of “Call of Duty” at Activision in Los Angeles. In her spare time, she actively advocates for diversity in gaming and tech by volunteering and doing regular talks on podcasts and at events, schools and universities.


Hau Tran
Director of Product Design • Slickdeals

Hau Tran is a product designer from Los Angeles. She started out designing and coding websites in the heyday of Geocities and turned it into a career after graduating from UC Berkeley with an English degree. She has over 10 years of experience as a product design leader, building and shipping web platforms, Windows apps, mobile experiences, browser extensions and more. She was recently promoted from a senior product designer to director of product design at Slickdeals

When she’s not solving product problems, Tran can be found playing video games, building too many mechanical keyboards, making art and being a voracious gourmand.


Paige Weldon
Technical Principal • Kin + Carta

Paige Weldon started out at Kin + Carta as a summer intern and has been with Kin + Carta for over five years. She has contributed to a variety of clients across mobile, web and full-stack technologies as an engineer, tech lead and currently as a solutions architect.

Outside of her client work, Weldon is passionate about equity and social justice and co-leads K + C’s Inclusion Diversity Equity & Awareness (IDEA) program. Weldon is an avid reader and is a member of K + C’s book club. She’s been practicing her baking in quarantine and is looking forward to sharing cookies with her awesome co-workers very soon.


Noelle Wiggins
Product Manager • Ekata

Noelle Wiggins is a product manager at Ekata and specializes in global implementation of phone and address data for fraud detection and prevention. Her industry experience spans nuclear and utilities to healthcare and wearables, which gives her unique insight into the fraud and compliance challenges facing heavily regulated industries. She is passionate about using identity data and machine learning algorithms in fresh ways to protect consumers and businesses from bad actors.

In her free time, Wiggins organizes events to engage and educate young professionals on policy proposals and legislative action in Seattle and Washington state.


Stacy WilliamsStacy Williams, Vice President of Global Operations at Feedonomics

Stacy Williams’ journey was unconventional. She ignored stereotypes and decided there wasn’t one single path for a woman in tech. She’s built sales, consumer experience and operations technical teams to scale in e-commerce and SaaS with some of the largest brands, like Intuit, Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney and Beachbody. With these rich experiences, she realized she had a strong knack for building out successful, high-performing technical teams, and therefore has focused on the startup space for the past eight years. Today, Williams leverages and applies all of her learnings at Feedonomics, where she was recently promoted to vice president, global operations.


Gillian WilsonGillian Wilson​, VP of Human Resources at Atmosphere

Gillian is a Human Resources pro with experience in entrepreneurial tech and media space(s) and a passion for helping people work more strategically, efficiently, and with a sense of humor (wherever possible). She is a strategic thinker and planner, but hasn't lost her ability to work and thrive tactically. She has experience in all aspects of payroll, benefits, HR systems management, performance, leadership development, culture molding, retention and talent acquisition.


Vanessa Yepes
Head of Customer and Partner Experience • AppSumo

As hire number 10 at AppSumo, Vanessa Yepes has been lucky to have the opportunity to learn and grow alongside her colleagues. She created and developed the company’s customer and partner experience teams, providing the necessary guidance and implementing strategies to attract and retain top performers, reduce ramp time and scale the team.

She believes in a people-first philosophy and is obsessed with building a world-class experience for customers and partners, as well as her own team, by fostering a learning environment where each team member can develop personally and professionally.


Congratulations to the 2021 Moxie Award winners, to those nominated and to every woman in tech who has offered their talent, ideas and effort to build a stronger, more equitable industry.

To view the full list of Built In’s 2021 Moxie Award nominees, click here.

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